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My name is Jeannie Mark

I’m a mid-lifer who quit a growing corporate career to reawaken my passions — and forge a life set by my own rules.

4 Years of Travel

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A Last Look at China

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Coming Out of the Closet: I'm Size XX

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Top 6 Activities in Bristol

Bristol’s leafy Georgian neighbourhoods and close proximity to an 850 acre country park certainly seem to promote a very outdoorsy lifestyle.  Indeed, was recently awarded European Green Capital in 2015 and also named as one of the Top 10 cities in the world to live by Forever Sports Magazine.

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December 7th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments
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Ultimate Things to Do in Virginia Beach

Winter is descending upon us, which means it’s time for travelers to flock to tropical destinations to escape freezing temperatures. If you’re looking for a local and more economical destination with views of the sea, Virginia Beach is an attractive vacation spot.

It might be too chilly for any significant beach excursions, but this area has plenty of activities that don’t focus on the beach. Allow this guide to open your eyes to what else Virgina Beach has to offer.

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November 18th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|1 Comment
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Fall Guide to New York City

As of May 2016, it’s been reported that over 50 million tourists visited New York City. The current mayor, Bill de Blasio, hopes to expand this number, by attracting “10 million more” by 2021.

This iconic city holds a strong fascination for many visitors because of its vibrant energy, unique people, and world-famous landmarks. And according to the above-noted statistics, people are visiting in droves.

New York is an exciting destination in any season of the year and since it’s now the fall season, I decided to cover the sights or cuisine I enjoy when New York starts to slip into shorter, colder days.

I hope this guide will give you some sound ideas on where to stay in New York and what to do and eat.

The Best Areas

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Photo via Flickr by Aurelien Guichard

How to determine which neighborhoods of New York are the best is a subjective topic for many visitors. I tend to look for location-friendly hotels because being able to walk to places in an acceptable amount of time and having easy access to food is important to me. My favorite neighborhoods are Times Square and Midtown West, and Midtown East and Murray Hill.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I spent a fruitful afternoon at “The Met” gawking at antiquities and the enduring artwork of classic painters. But it simply wasn’t long enough. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a delightful way to escape the chilly outdoors, but give yourself at least two to three days to see some vital wings of this museum.

Central Park

Even though fall has descended upon New York, Central Park is a highly recommended stop. Bundle up and as you walk through, the fall colors are quite breathtaking and worth photographing. You can take part in many tours covering various parts of the park — just look on the Central Park website for a list of tours. Don’t forget to do a dedicated search for the famous statues littered around the park, like Alice in Wonderland and William Shakespeare.

Food in New York City

The types of cuisine and amount you can find in New York is pretty staggering. I usually seek out cheap but delicious eats, because it’s easy to find economical food that satisfies the foodie in me. The main styles of food that I enjoy are Italian, Chinese, and American standards like fried chicken. I suggest hungrily combing over this terrific food guide by BuzzFeed to plan some food outings.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn has undergone massive changes over the years, and the resulting gentrification rendered this area unrecognizable to me. However, this isn’t a negative point at all. The last time I walked the streets of Brooklyn, I felt like a wild-eyed explorer, discovering new spaces and landscapes. I love how Brooklyn has shaped in the last few years. Check out the neighborhood of Greenpoint, which has the most noticeable changes, in my opinion. This neighborhood boasts a bevy of new restaurants, flea markets, and great watering holes.

Enjoy my personal guide to this intriguing city.

October 27th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|1 Comment
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The Positive Side of Vacation Package Deals

If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you know that I tend to focus on independent travel. But the truth is there are many ways to have a great travel experience that doesn’t focus on hyper-adventure.

Typical travelers only have about 10 days to spare in their busy lives, which could make a vacation package a smart choice. If you’re unaware what a vacation package is, it usually refers to researching for vacation deals that include the cost of a hotel, airfare, and even a rental car in one price.

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October 26th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|1 Comment
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Travel Guide to Las Vegas for Non-Gamblers

Las Vegas has a larger-than-life reputation that’s often portrayed in films and in the media as the casino mecca of the world. In the film “Ocean’s Eleven,” the portrayal of flashy wealth and high rollers makes Las Vegas alluring with the potential promise of winning thousands or millions of dollars by spending hours gambling in a casino.

Despite the tempting glitz of Las Vegas, you might be the type of traveler who doesn’t want to spend all your time in a casino.

While the architectural design of many casinos keeps you inside, you can find ways to escape them and sample a different side to Las Vegas.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

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Image via Flickr by D-Stanley

Even though you may want to sample casinos only for a short amount of time, you can begin researching hotel deals and searching for hotels with casinos attached. Since gaming hotels are architecturally planned to encourage visitors to stay indoors, these facilities have several on-site restaurants and entertainment venues. Having this immediate access allows you to conveniently find food to eat or join an entertainment show once you’ve returned from sightseeing off-site.

No Casinos At All

Perhaps you want to avoid casinos altogether to mitigate the higher cost of staying in a gaming hotel. My suggestion is to seek out non-gaming hotels. A thorough search on the internet will offer more than 30 options to choose from. To further boost your cost savings measures, using coupons from Priceline is a terrific way to save more money.

Hike Red Rock

Las Vegas is in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, which affords the traveler with ample opportunities to experience nature. Just outside the city is gorgeous Red Rock Canyon, offering outdoor lovers easy and difficult hikes and mountain biking trails for extreme sports junkies. If you rent a car and drive, the entrance fee to the canyon is only $7, but plan to go early before the midday heat strikes. Remember to pack a hat, along with plenty of water.

Visit the Grand Canyon

Although the Grand Canyon is several hours from Las Vegas, a number of tour companies offer day trips or helicopter rides to the canyon. Choosing to do a short jaunt here is ideal for anyone who may not make a visit to the Grand Canyon anytime soon. Frankly, the endless vistas are worth a limited look.

Party on Fremont Street

The Strip does have sparkling lights and luxury galore, along with high prices. Downtown Vegas is affordable and oozes with character. Play slots, imbibe on cheap drinks, people-watch, and go inside a few dive bars. What you notice is an easygoing atmosphere that’s reminiscent of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

See the Neon Museum Boneyard

The outdoor space of the Neon Museum Boneyard will impress you with the iconic neon signs that once glowed in the early days of Las Vegas’ rough-and-tumble beginnings. You’ll come across casino signs such as Stardust, El Cortez, and the Lucky Cuss Motel. Visit the museum’s website to book a tour.

This non-gambling guide will have you enjoying Las Vegas in a new, profound way.

October 17th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|1 Comment
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The Ultimate Guide to Nashville

Nashville is a rollicking destination that’s worth a visit, especially if you’re a music fan. A good part of blues, rock, and country music originated from here and set ablaze the careers of many music stars. The city continues to serve as a source of creativity for many musicians trying to succeed, which makes Nashville a fun playground to see up-and-coming live music acts or revisit stars of the past.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the musical environment of Nashville, include this city guide in your planning. Discover the top things to do, where to stay when you’re in Nashville, and which restaurants serve the most delicious Southern food.

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Image via Flickr by kla4067

Traveling to Nashville

Flying to Nashville is not difficult, since many major airlines stop at the Nashville International Airport. Deals as low as $67 for a one-way flight are easily found on travel search engines. However, another rewarding way to explore the city is by driving your own car or renting one.

Getting Around

Once you arrive, staying in the downtown area places you within walking distance of landmarks, restaurants, and any other special events happening during your visit. If you prefer something faster than walking, the tourism board has set up a free transportation service called the Music City Circuit, which travels throughout the downtown core every 10 to 15 minutes.

Best Music Venues

Obviously, where you choose to catch live music depends on your musical tastes. If you enjoy bluegrass, country, rock, blues, or anything else I haven’t named here, you’ll find these musical styles and more in this city. For music history buffs, or for those who simply enjoy a live band, historical venues such as The Station Inn and Robert’s Western World will give you hours of songs, drinks, and emotional lyrics. The Guardian has a starter guide on Nashville’s music venues that should help you.

Best Food

Southern food has some deep-seated roots, yet somehow this type of food is also timeless. This timeless quality contributes to the reasons that restaurants in Nashville stay open for more than 50 years, continuing to attract customers daily. Southern food is known for biscuits, grits, crispy fried chicken, collard greens, and sweet potato pie, and all these dishes can be found around town. I suggest starting at historical restaurants such as The Loveless Café or Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Here’s one vital tip: Simply ask locals where they like to eat.

Music History

If you’re a bona fide music buff, then a visit to many of the city’s music museums is in order. The best ones to tour are the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and RCA Studio B. To book a tour, look on the respective websites of the venues and reserve your tickets online. If you love Johnny Cash, you’ll also find a museum in his name, which is perfect for his avid fans.

This guide sounds so appealing that I may need to book a trip there myself soon.  

October 10th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments